Monday, February 16, 2009

Sin City Dispatch #12: "Man this glue takes a long time to dry!"

Hey everyone and welcome to issue #12 of the Dispatch!

In this issue of the Dispatch, we will be heading back to the Workbench to look at a new terrain project. It is the return of the mini-topper but this time with a heavy metal twist! After that, we will head to the Battlezone for a quick Battle Report as I dust off some old minis and charge headlong into a smack down! So sit down and strap in because we are about to hit the ground running!

From the Workbench
(cue announcer voice) Cheap and Easy Terrain for the Gamer on the Go!

One of the things that my FLGS is lacking right now is some good gaming space. They do have several tables but no table toppers yet so the gaming space can be kind of limiting. To work around this, I decided to make a couple of mini toppers like the ones that I made for AT-43. I also threw together some other bits of terrain but more on that later!

The boards are made from the good old blue board that you can get out from you local Lowe's/Home Depot. Coming in 2' by 8' sheets, I cut one sheet into two 3' long sections so that I can put them side by side to create a 4' by 3' table.

While this is slightly smaller then the more typical 4' by 4' table, but it should still be big enough to keep things from being too cramped. One of the things that I really enjoyed from AT-43 was how quickly you were forced to get into the action with the smaller size table so I am looking forward to giving this a try for small games of 40k and Warmachine.

With the boards cut into smaller pieces, it was now time to fancy them up a bit. The first step was to apply a good layer of sand to the play surface. I did this by applying a liberal layer of white glue to the board and then pouring paving sand on top of it. An important thing to remember is that you are really only trying to give the board some texture so the layer of sand does not need to be very thick. Once this was done, I left it to dry overnight.

The next day I made a very slightly watered down mixture of white glue and water which I brushed over the sand that was already on the boards. This helps seal the sand to the board and should make the board that much more durable as well. Once this was done, I left it to dry overnight again.

The next step was to start actually painting the board with brown paint so that I could make it look more like ground instead of insulation board with some sand on it. For this I just used some cheap craft paint from Michael's, specifically the brown paint their Craft Smart line. Why? Because it was the cheapest paint for the dollar! There is no point in wasting expensive paint on a project like this when the cheap stuff will work just as well. Once I had a good coverage on the board, it was time to left it dry again.

After letting the base coat dry, it was time to throw a little bit of highlight onto the board to add some depth to the board. Please not that you really don't have to do this step if you don't want to. You are only painting a game board after all and the main focus in a game is the miniatures on the board, not the board itself. That said, I like how it looks so to each their own. To do this highlight, I dry brushed the ground with Craft Smart paint. Once this is done it is time to take a break to sure that it is dry.

Once the paint is dry, it is time to put on the flock. You could do this by simply coating the whole board with white glue and dumping some flock on it but I don't for this kind of a look on a gaming board. The battle is not happening on a golf course so why would the battlefield be a smooth grassy field? Instead, I like to leave patches where the grass is thin or sometimes even leave some bare ground exposed. Your best bet is to sweep the glue around the board in random curves to give it a more organic feel. Mother Nature is not known for making squares in the wild so go ahead and spread that glue all over the place! Once you have the board covered in glue, cover it with a generous layer of flock and then... Yep, you guessed it, leave it to dry overnight.

After the glue has dried, is it time to remove the excess from the board. The easiest way to do this is to take an old house brush and gently sweep off the extra flock. The key word here is "gently". You are just trying to get rid of the extra stuff, not dig a hole in your board.

Once this is done you have a mostly finished game board, ready for you to bring the smack down to your opponents! I know what you are thinking. "Why did he say mostly finished?" When you look at the board itself, you see a nice looking gaming surface. What could be wrong with it? Now look at the edge of the board where you can still see the blue foam board in all its glory. As a final step I like to finish off the edges with a quick coat of paint, preferably black. This might seem like a pointless step to some of you out there, but from my own experience taking a few minutes to finish really makes the whole thing look that much sharper.

And there you have it! A quick (not counting drying time of course...) and easy way to build a portable gaming board. The only other thing that I would recommend is make sure that you have a good supply of everything before you start. I actually ran out of flock while I was putting it on the board and had to stretch it out a little to make it work. Not a problem in the end but when it comes to supplies too much is almost always better than not enough!

Battle Report:
Cry Havoc and Let Loose the Dogs of Warmachine!

After taking a very long break from the game (I'd guess it's been about two years now), I finally decided to break out my Warmachine minis. Another local gamer who is just getting into the game contacted me and asked about getting in a few games so that he can get ready for the upcoming Schism event. After a few problems with scheduling, we were finally able to sit down and get in a game.

There are no pictures of the game unfortunately, but it broke down to something similar to a Mangled Metal vs. Tooth and Claw format. I was fielding Deneghra with a Scarlock, a Slayer, and two Deathrippers while Pat had Kaya with a Warp Wolf, and two Argus on his side. With such small forces, we used one of the 2' by 3' boards that I talked about in the Workbench with a few small patches of forest to break up the field.

I have to say that playing a small game like this is a great way to learn the rules (or re-learn in my case). With so little to keep track of it is easier to keep track on of what went on in your mind, which worked really well as I was able to figure out several things that I played incorrectly. Most of them were things that I could have worked around to achieve a similar effect but it still might have changed the outcome of the game. All in all, I definitely have to chalk this one up as a learning game even though I crushed Pat. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Now we'll just have to wait and see how the re-match goes now that I know how channeling and wrecked warjacks are supposed to work.

All and all, I have to say that Warmachine is a lot of fun to play. The action runs a lot faster than some other games and one of the amazing things is the fact that neither of us ever rolled more than three dice at a time! Now how crazy is that people?!? After rolling buckets for 40k and AT-43, it was kind of weird using so few dice but in some ways it was a nice change. No, this doesn't mean that I will be switching systems again but this definitely give me another gaming option which is always a good thing.

The Parting Shot...

Well, that wraps it up for now but there is more to come! In the next issue, we'll be trying to find the forest for the trees and (hopefully) there will be an actual battle report... with pictures even! Until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

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